Art That An Eight-Year-Old Will Love

I have lived in New York City for 19 years, but never set foot in the Guggenheim museum until last February when we got a free year-long membership through the NYC ID program. It's funny how the closer things are - the less likely we sometimes are to visit. The museum is only about a 10-minute walk from our apartment, so as our membership year winds down, we have been squeezing in a few visits.

Depending on the exhibition, the Guggenheim sometimes shows what one might call "challenging" art. Unlike other museums around the city, it's not exactly a popular place to take children.

But on one recent Saturday morning, two installations in the "Tales of Our Time" exhibition enthralled most of the people we observed viewing them - including the seven- and eight-year-olds who were probably not super-enthusiastic about a museum visit.

This exhibit is housed on the fifth floor (tour tip: at the Guggenheim, always start on five), and these were the first two works we saw. 

"Can't Help Myself" is the title of this - and you can't help but keep watching. It's mesmerizing.

While Scott stayed...and stayed...with this, I moved along to the adjacent gallery, where you will find "In The End Is The Word." It starts with extensive footage of a calm sea - eventually adding battleships and finally culminating in what you see below.

Also on display, and likely of interest to kids: a working solid gold toilet ("America" by Maurizio Cattelan).

Yes, you can use it - if you're willing to stand on lines that run well more than an hour during busy times.

Since they were installing new exhibitions during our January visit, we went back again yesterday.  

As a fan of Jackson Pollock's work, I was excited to see his "Alchemy" painting being shown starting February 10. This was the first of his "drip" paintings for which he became so famous. It was restored just a few years ago, and then displayed at the Guggenheim in Venice. Much as I'd love to go back to Venice, the New York museum is a bit more convenient, and I loved being able to hop over a few blocks to take it in. They also have fascinating displays and videos in a separate gallery about the restoration process.    

The "Tales of Our Time" exhibition runs through March 10 if you are in town and have a chance to stop by. You can check out the Guggenheim's web site for details, including extensive interpretations of the meanings of these and other works on display.